Wheelie bins are made from plastic using a process known as injection moulding, the two main elements which are the head and body will be formed separately, and additional parts such as wheels, axle and hinges will of course be added to make a fully functional wheelie bin.
Because wheelie bins don't exactly have an easy life and quality does vary between manufacturers UK/EU bins will be certified and tested to EN840 and an additional feature of quality wheelie bins is ultra violet protection which is highly beneficial as without this the wheelie bins exposed to sunlight go brittle much quicker and tend to split very easily as do the lower quality wheelie bins which often originate from China.
The number of bins that are replaced each year from damage and wear is considerable, 100's of thousands of wheelie bins are replaced and rather than sending these bins to landfill they are collected by local authority's and then passed to specialist plastic recycling companies.
Once the old or damaged wheelie bins have been collected by the plastic recycling specialists they need to go through a few steps prior to being recycled,
Washing, all the years of crud inside and outside needs to be removed, along with any stickers such as house numbers, all these stickers have adhesive behind them that needs to be removed prior to any recycling taking place.
Removal of the wheels, axles and hinges, basically all that a plastic recycler is interested in is the parts made from plastic, metal and rubber components would be stored separately and these would be collected by their respective recyclers.
At this stage the body and lid of the wheelie bin get dropped in to large shredders and comes out the other side as small regrind pieces of plastic, this regrind plastic is then tested and graded as to its composition. Regrind plastic is often re-used as is by adding a quantity to a mix with virgin plastic in the production run of a new plastic product, any that is not used will go on to the next stage in the recycling of plastic process.
This is the final stage in the recycling of plastic wheelie bins, here the cleaned granulated plastic is processed in to a recycled compound by melting and extruding in the form of pellets. These plastic pellets can then be used to manufacture a wide range of products, some of which could be more wheelie bins but equally likely is your new cars bumper could have been your tired old wheelie bin in a previous life.